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28.06.2005 General News

The Judiciary must be seen to be impartial-Blair

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Accra, June 28, GNA - Mr William Blair, distinguished British lawyer of international repute has observed that for a country' judiciary to be respected, it must be seen to be impartial. He furthermore said, for the Judiciary to be independent, it must be insulated from executive interference and control.

Mr Blair, senior brother of Mr Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, made these observations in a paper he delivered as the Special Guest of Honour, at this year's Martyrs Day Memorial Lectures at the British Council Hall in Accra on Tuesday.

The two-day lecture was instituted more than two decades ago by the Ghana Bar Association in memory of three of their colleagues, who together with a retired Army Officer, were abducted from their homes and murdered in cold blood at the Bundase Military Range, on June 30, 1982. President John Agyekum Kufuor was among the dignitaries, who graced the occasion.

Mr Blair, professor at the London School of Economics, whose topic was: "Judicial Independence and the Constitution in Times of Change", pointed out that, for judicial independence to be safeguarded, there was the need for institutions of government, and the citizenry to have the due respect for judicial decisions.

He reminded judges that their decisions would be respected, if only they went about their duties with competence, and a high sense of diligence.

Citing examples from Britain, the United States, the European Union among other nations, Mr Blair stated that Judicial Independence had been established as an international norm, and urged the international community to endeavour to respect the Judiciary, and allow it to function in a free manner.

Touching also on the Constitution, Mr Blair pointed out that as the Supreme Law of any nation, it must not only be respected, but must be made to work.

He referred to Article 125 (3) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, and said the article makes provision for the judicial powers in the land to be vested in the Judiciary, headed by the Chief Justice. The Queen's Counsel called for closer collaboration amongst the three Arms of Government, and advised that their functions must not be seen to be infringing on one another's.

Mr Kwame Tetteh, President of the Ghana Bar Association, who chaired the function, pointed out that Judicial Independence "cannot thrive in an atmosphere of intimidation and murder. This Year's Martyrs' Day Celebrations will be rounded off with a Memorial and Thanks-giving Service on Thursday, June 30.

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